Big screen popmart vs. barebones Joshua Tree

rob okorn ([email protected])
Sun, 12 Jul 1998 23:30:24 PDT

With all do respect to Michelle, Popmart is the antithesis of the Joshua
Tree tour, JT was ultra barebones, sparse lighting, no effects, no
screens, no b-stage, JUST THE MUSIC and even at the back of a cavernous
open air stadium the music was loud and clear and last time I checked it
was about music, not some choreographed boxing spar session in sync with
the vid with no room for spontaneity. JT tour as Bono has said prior to
the 3rd leg Nassau show was 'about the music' and they didn't want to
use extraneous 'baggage'. I guess everything has to be packaged and
commercialized like a slick dispensible hollywood formula flick to
appeal to the cookie cutter generation. Has it come to style over real
substance, I guess people are oblivious to the tranparent superficial
facade. I guess every U2 show prior to 1990 is deemed a 'crap show' by
some wirelegs since it doesn't conform to the visual overload quota.
Maybe the visual assault and live experience gives you a warm fuzzy
feeling as your distracted from
actually judging the audio performance, now there's a concept.

I guess with the influx of cutting edge video styles with skewed angles
and such, there's the desensitization factor in that a barebones
delivery today would be monotonous to the desensitized masses who view a
movie like David Fincher's 'Seven' as a walk in the park.
U2 had to embrace the visuals as well as promote the cutting edge theme
or else they would be viewed as old hat or dinosaur retreads. The
Rattle and Hum backlash was nothing compared to the popmart backlash in
the US. The vast majority of the 80's U2 fans abandoned them but the
younger generation replaced them, seemingly enamoured with U2's 'new
direction.' The tickets were sold prior to the album release and the
lottery ticket system basically was too enticing for alot of people who
surrendered to the hype based on the double whammy effect.
Another key point is the 5 year wait stateside between the 92 and 97
tour as well as the packaging of it as an 'event'. The long 5 year
hiatus and hype legitimized the price. Now it's only a little over half
a year since the last US show, even if they tour one year from today in
the US, the high ticket price will be a much harder sell.

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